College enrollment has increased dramatically over the last few decades. That much is clear. But the fall enrollment demographics of America’s college students are also changing, and the marketplace has become more competitive.
For-profit institutions experienced a period of rapid growth from 2000-2010, as well as attracting a larger percentage of students with diverse backgrounds. Female students and non-traditional students represent a larger percentage of overall enrollment than in the past. More racially diverse students are attending college, as well. (See the infographic below for this, as well as more information.)
However, while the data available from the National Center for Education Statistics is available through 2010, more recent estimates from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center show that the direction of enrollment is changing yet again.
Traditionally, college enrollment slows or even decreases as the economy improves, and their numbers show that has happened again recently. For the spring 2013 term, enrollment was down across all sectors by an average of 2.3 percent. The largest losses were in the two-year public sector (-3.6 percent) and the for-profit sector (-8.7 percent). (It should also be noted that many for-profit institutions have also curbed their admissions in response to concerns about dropout rates, student loan defaults, and other issues, which may also be affecting their enrollment rates.)
In fact, since fall 2010, the only college sector to see consistent gains in enrollment each semester has been 4-year private nonprofit institutions. While the clearinghouse’s data are only estimates, their results suggest that private colleges may have greater consistency and staying power through periods of economic fluctuation than the other sectors, and based on the steady line in the first graph of the infographic, we see this has been true over time.
The question, then, is how to continue this steady growth, and perhaps how to increase it for your particular institution. For private colleges to maximize their enrollment, they must refine their approach to targeting students. Knowing who your students are is the first step.
Take a look through all the data presented below. How does your school compare? Are you utilizing the proper resources to encourage enrollment from all the available demographics? Does your school have diversity of gender, age, and race, or are you recruiting the same demographics as you were in 1970? While every school is not the perfectly proportional melting pot, schools should be aware of the market, and how to set up inclusive recruiting techniques to attract the most students possible.
At The Parish Group, identifying the correct students for your school is our specialty. We work solely with private colleges to create customized campaigns, based on your unique qualities and needs, ensuring that our results bring the outcomes you seek.
Contact The Parish Group today to see what we can do for you. Together we do BIG things!
Click to enlarge.
Data collected from the National Center for Education Statistics, “Digest of Education Statistics,” 2012 Tables and Figures.